Sioux City Iowa — The Concordia Bulldogs downed Northwestern 84-77 to advance to the 2018 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. The finals will be an all GPAC affair as Dakota Wesleyan advanced to the title game by defeating Saint Xavier (Ill.) in the other semifinal 81-66. Kynedi Cheeseman had a dominant night, dropping game-highs in points (27) and assists (5). The Tigers went 24-27 from the free throw line to help push them past the Cougars and into the Championship.
The Bulldogs controlled the first quarter. At one point leading by eight, the Bulldogs shot 56 percent from the floor, as well as knocking down 2-3 shots from deep. But the Red Raiders outrebounded the Bulldogs 16-6 in the first, keeping the score manageable going into the second. The score at the end of the first was 23-20 in favor of Concordia.
The second quarter proved to be just as close as the first. The Bulldogs had a two point led with just under a minute remaining. But the last minute was what the Bulldogs needed to pull ahead. Concordia added four more to their two point lead to enter half with a six point lead. Philly Lammers and Quinn Wragge for Concordia both had double-digit points going into the second half, as did Renee Maneman and Kassidy DeJong for the Red Raiders.
The Bulldogs slowly built up the lead throughout the third quarter. An And-1 play from Dani Hoops pushed the lead to 18 with just 20seconds left in the quarter. Although a buzzer beating 3 to end the quarter by Paige Danner cut it back down to 15 heading into the fourth.
Another Maneman three, her third of the game, helped cut the lead down to 12 at the start of the fourth. A Paige Danner 3 brought the lead to just 10 with 1:23 left in the game. And then an And-1 by Haley Birks brought it to just eight. But when Lammers went to the line on a foul, the Bulldogs went up 10 with 24 seconds left. A Red Raider three brought the lead to seven, and that’s how the game ended. As time expired, the Bulldogs had the win 84-77.
Concordia will move on to face Dakota Wesleyan Tuesday night at 7:00 P.M. in an all GPAC final to see who will go home with the National Championship.